Women’s World Banking plans new, larger fund for women’s financial inclusion



ImpactAlpha, April 26 –  Women’s World Banking, a New York-based non-profit, is laying the groundwork for a new microfinance-focused private-equity fund to support financial inclusion among low-income women.

Like its $50 million World Banking Capital Partners Fund, the new fund will invest in microfinance institutions. WWB Asset Management, which will manage the new fund, hopes to increase its impact by evaluating the companies it invests in for their gender diversity, outreach to women borrowers and progress on gender action plans.

  • A bigger mission… WWB’s funds—and new evaluation methodology—are part of a plan to improve gender diversity at all levels of the financial world.
  • A step further… WWB is aiming to raise $100 million for the new fund.
  • Design support… Blended finance network Convergence has awarded WWB a design funding grant backed by the Canadian government to structure the fund.

“In the face of evidence that women are good for business, we sometimes still run into this idea that hiring women and serving women is a social issue, or even a cost center,” WWB’s CJ Juhasz says in a blog, noting that with the right data, investors can counter this view.

Globally, women represent 84% of microfinance clients in a sector worth $100 billion. WWB’s first fund hasdeployed $32 million to nine microfinance institutions. Collectively they serve 4.3 million clients, 81% of whom are women, and have increased their female client base by 60%.

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